Landscaping is an interesting business, you can work with people who are dreaming up gardens from scratch or do improvement work on existing gardens. Gardening services can be attached to the business as a way to create a continuous revenue stream. While something’s mentioned here will not apply to one or the other the idea here is a landscaping and gardening business.
The market is in a very interesting position. Due to the high cost of living, employment costs in Zimbabwe are certainly on the increase as well. Some people simply aren’t able to put up the full cost of employment plus travel or accommodation, meals and other associated costs. Gardening, in particular, is a job that can be done 2-3 days a week and sufficiently maintain a property.
Landscaping, on the other hand, may involve planning out gardens from scratch for individuals, business and institutions. With the conversion of homes into business premises, the idea is in some demand. Also worth noting are challenges around water from a climate change perspective which warrant a change in focus and xeriscaping, creating gardens that require very little to no irrigation, is an area that would certainly be worth focusing on.
Landscaping deals with the actual design and layout of gardens including rockeries, structures such as fountains & gazebos, plant choice, plant layout and paving. It can get very broad as construction work such as fountains may involve the assistance of a landscape architect though precast options are available. This service requires great knowledge of trends. The work here is seasonal.
Gardening as a service is more on the maintenance side of things. While you may be required to change a thing or two, gardening basically deals with recurring tasks such as lawn mowing, pruning, trimming and so on. This service will give you more regular work.
One of the most important relationships you have will be with your suppliers. So it’s a very important relationship to manage. A good supplier is always happy to make you aware of what’s new and how you can use it to enhance your business. You will need suppliers for many different things including plant seedlings, chemicals, fertilizers, compost and other consumables. Some equipment may need to be hired as it is highly specialized so you may need a supplier for that too.
Gardening tools range from a few dollars to many thousands depending on the piece of equipment in question. This is going to easily be your biggest investment and as such must be made carefully. Buying tools and equipment for business, especially in heavy wear and tear environment such as this it’s important to consider how long a piece of equipment can serve and how difficult it is to maintain, repair or replace.
As mentioned before landscaping work is seasonal and different services are required in different seasons. While Zimbabwe hardly follows the standard four seasons it is worth noting that summer will be characterized by frequent maintenance work like trimming and lawn mowing. Autumn will bring a focus on pruning, clearing and removal. Winter is the best time for land scraping and hard pruning, setting out garden design. Spring is a time for planting, weeding and preparation work.
For landscaping, the rates are to be looked at on a project by project basis. And this really requires a look at the project and understating it. You may be in a rush to believe that a bigger space warrants more work but you may find that managing the closeness of objects in a small space is more demanding. Experience counts here. With gardening services the standard is to charge a daily rate though you can take a contract approach and guarantee the income long term.
The beauty of the field is that experience trumps everything. The operation may require more than one person and the smart way to do this would be to hire staff as and when needed. Your work matters more than your words and as a word of wisdom knowing the work of people you employ or hire is very important. While we’re on the subject the ability to show your prospects your work is also important to consider creating a portfolio and having online examples of your work.
Ultimately your success in this (and any) business will be determined by your ability to connect with people. You are working on peoples homes or perhaps commercial buildings which people take pride in. A deep understanding of plant types and what they mean for the owner long term and maintenance wise will do you a world of good. The opportunities to grow in this business are present and perhaps establishing a franchise garden service could be the winning ticket.
Great posts. Thank you for the insights. I wanted to ask that which markets do you think are most likely to consider contracting landscapers? Cluster owners? Private properties? etc
Thank you for the feedback. I would say private properties are more likely to look at contracts however wisdom would say approach everyone you can.
thank you and well noted